4 Tools To Help Evaluate, Develop And Improve Safety Culture At Work
Have you ever heard the term “safety culture” used in a conversation about your job? Now more commonly known as environmental health and safety, safety culture is important in very industry.
Safety culture at work has been a very important topic for managers and industry leaders since the 1980s, when the Chernobyl disaster struck in the Ukraine. The term specifically refers to the ways in which safety is managed in the workplace, as well as the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to safety at their job. 
A culture of safety can definitely be developed within any job and any industry, however, given the vast differences in jobs across industries today, the needs of one company’s safety culture will naturally be different than the needs of another. A fuel distributor, for example, won’t face the same on-the-job risks as a bank.
Fortunately, plenty of resources are available to help any company looking to develop, improve or clarify its safety culture do just that. Here’s just a sampling of the safety culture tools available for use in 2014 by a wide range of industries:
- The Safety Maturity Index: Understanding that a stronger culture of safety leads to a higher profit in addition to cutting down on the number of at-work injuries, Rockwell Automation recently released a tool designed to help “companies understand their current level of performance and steps they can take to improve safety and profitability.”  The tool examines three main areas in its evaluations: Culture (the measurement of behavioral aspects of a company, including values, priorities, attitudes, incentives, and beliefs); Compliance (the measurement of procedural aspects of a company); and Capital (the measurement of technical aspects of a company). We definitely respect this tool for its holistic approach to the concept of a safer culture at work.
- Safety Culture Snapshot: Designed to be an introductory tool that assists in assessing and understanding your workplace’s safety culture’s points and goals, Snapshot is a New Zealand-based tool that can definitely benefit any company. In addition to its overview and survey, Snapshot offers briefings, sample coaching cards for use in training, action planning templates, and user guides to anyone utilizing the tool’s services. Snapshot may be a great tool to add to your company, especially if you’re at the beginning of developing your safety culture.
- The Safety Climate Tool (SCT): SCT is a survey-based software tool that helps companies measure their safety culture and provides evidence-based improvement suggestions. What we like about SCT is that its setup maps the current state of safety culture in a work environment based on 40 key statements and how those factor into eight major categories related to attitudes and behaviors regarding safety. It’s a great tool to evaluate exactly where your safety culture stands in time right now. Best of all, as of last year it’s available online. As an added bonus the SCT has been released in multiple languages, refleting the popularity of the Health and Safety Laboratory’s tool.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) eTool: When in doubt, turn to OSHA, an administration dedicated to finding and developing resources to help companies stay safe while also following legal safety requirements. OSHA’s tool is designed to help companies develop a stronger safety culture and implement better safety policies based on four major questions; as an added bonus, often these tools can help bring a company’s safety standards up passed the minimal requirements placed on them by local laws. The way we see it, it’s a win-win.
We hope that you’ll consider using these tools as you look for improvements to make at work in the coming months. Remember: a solid safety culture is a must-have at your company this year. Not only do safety cultures improve actual safety – they also have positive impacts on worker productivity, and retention rates.
How to implement effective safety culture and processes
To be effective and build a safe workplace, safety culture and environemental health and safety processes need to be more than just talk. Effectiveness of your safety culture hinges on 3 key componants:
- The materials and products you stock and use in your systems
- The ownership of processes by your staff
- The alignment of environmental health and safety with corporate objectives
The materials and products you stock and use in your systems
To keep you workplace safe and effective, ensure you are using the right kinds of safe products. When it comes to spill cleanup, SpillFix spill solutions are all safe and extremely effective at addressing all types of spills. Ditch unsafe clay based absorbents or chemicals and use a non-toxic, natural, safe product.
The ownership of processes by your staff
The best processes and resources all fall short if the people who need to do the work are not on board. Build ownership of safety culture by involved your staff, teaching them clear processes and giving responsiblity to those who can step up and lead safe practices.
The alignment of environmental health and safety with corporate objectives
All companies have corporate objectives and goals they are working to, when you align safety culture and environmental health and safety to these objectives, change and improvement don’t just start but continue and suceed.